Mistaken IdentityPosted by on Thursday, May 10th, 2012
As more and more things are becoming illegal (or just now being enforced), we need to begin to change our societal attitude towards people who have been arrested or in jail. Part of this involves changing our first instinct to trust the police story above that of the accused. To be sure, the police have a hard job. They surely get lied to all the time. But, it is still their obligation to make sure they’ve got the right person before days go by and an innocent person is in jail. Cases of mistaken identity do occur.
In Tennessee, a man was arrested and detained for two days after being taken in on a warrant that was associated with a crime that his deceased twin brother committed. He refused to sign the documents because it wasn’t his name on them. This type of thing sounds like the typical bad excuse that a criminal would give, but it turned out to be true in this case. I wonder how many of his friends, neighbors, and associates assumed he was guilty before knowing the whole story.
As usual, the comments on the article are just as interesting as the article itself. In society, we somehow think that being in jail is no big deal — even if you shouldn’t be there. Here’s one telling comment: (grammar and punctuation copied from the original)
Oh pullleeeeeeeeez! He wasn’t tasered, or beaten to a pulp, just his scumbag, now deceased twin brother used HIS name when he got arrested previously, but it’s CERTAINLY not grounds for any sort of litigation.
Evidently, this person thinks that unjustly being locked in a cage is no big deal. Evidently, it would only be a big deal to him if he was physically abused in some way.
And another interesting perspective: (grammar and punctuation copied from the original)
How many times are the police lied to every day how do they know who is telling the truth. Sometimes making the arrest and letting the system sort out the truth is their only option. Criminals lie all the time saying it wasnt them or it was their brother or dad and sometimes the truth is being told but it is impossible for the cop on the street to know the truth that is what the legal system is for. If the warrant had that guys name on it that is all the stree officer has to go buy.
First of all, nobody is saying that the officer on the street should not have made the original arrest. The warrant was made out in this guy’s name. However, why did he have to spend two days in jail for them to do a simple fingerprint check? In my book, it’s not OK for an innocent person to spend two days in jail (missing work and everything else) while the system “sorts things out.”
The thing I would ask people who hold views like those expressed in these comments is…when does it become a big deal? So, two days with no beating isn’t a big deal. What about three days? Five? Two years? One day with a slight beating? Three days with emotional abuse?
Remember, it is better for a guilty person to go free than an innocent person to be implicated. If we adopt the reverse view on a large scale, anyone could become a victim of the system.
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